The Psyker is the Warhammer 40K: Darktide equivalent to a traditional “Mage” or “Wizard” class that you’d find in more traditional RPGs. They’re often referred to as “Glass Cannons” since they have the ability to dish out high amounts of damage, but they are relatively fragile compared to the other three classes in Darktide.
That’s why today, we’ll be going over the Psyker in depth – covering their abilities and coming up with a build to help you survive long enough to destroy all your enemies in Warhammer 40K: Darktide.
Let’s get started.
Abilities and Playstyle of the Psyker
In the universe of Warhammer 40K, the Psyker is a person who has been granted psionic abilities stemming from a parallel dimension known as “The Warp”. Psykers are constantly in danger of being tempted or possessed by the malignant entities that occupy the Warp, so they must always be careful not to dive too deep into the unknown in their lust for power.
Within the confines of Darktide‘s mechanics, that means Psykers do not use the traditional finite pool of mana that magic users use in most other games. Instead, they have to manage their Warp Peril, which represents the level of influence the chaotic forces of the Warp have on their minds.
Warp Peril is represented on a percentage scale from 0 – 100. If your warp peril reaches 100, the influence of the warp becomes too much, and you will down or potentially kill your own character. Warp Peril can be “quelled” by holding the R key while holding any psykinetic based weapon.
All that being said, let’s get into those juicy abilities that will have us popping our own heads from our constant need to blow up just one more heretic.
Blitz Ability: Brain Burst
Normally, we would cover the Blitz ability last. But for the Psyker, it’s basically their bread and butter.
Brain Burst is by far the most useful ability of the Psyker and does exactly what is says on the tin. Pressing G will bring up your hands, which allows you to hold left click to lock on to an enemy. After roughly three seconds, well, you uh…. burst their brain.
This does insanely high damage, regardless of the level of the caster. This ability is best used for taking down elites from long range, as it can kill just about any specialist in a single hit.
A very useful tip about using the default left-click brain burst ability – you do not need to be aimed at the enemy the entire time. Once you’re locked on and begin charging your ability, you can duck behind a corner and finish casting. This lets you do insane amounts of damage from relative safety.
When facing larger enemies such as Bulwarks and Reapers, you may need to use the charged up version of Brain Burst by holding down right click until the bar to the right of your crosshairs is filled. Once filled, just look at the enemy that needs popping and left click once you see a blueish aura around their head.
Active Ability: Psykinetic’s Wrath
The Psyker’s active ability, Pykinetic Wrath, quells 50% of your accumulated warp peril and staggers all enemies in front of you. This can be useful if you find yourself separated from your team, and you need to get some pressure off of you.
Alternatively, if the situation calls for you to be casting multiple spells in a row and there’s no time to hold R to reduce your peril, it can come in tremendous use. The Trick is remembering to use it before you pop your own head.
Iconic (Passive) Abilities
The two passives for the Psyker encourage you to constantly kill enemies in Warhammer 40K: Darktide, so you can use your abilities more frequently and to a greater effect.
Battle Meditation gives a 10% chance to quell 10 peril every time you get a kill. This passive comes in handy quite a bit, and can sometimes save you from yourself when you get a little reckless. The real star of the show, though, is Warp Siphon.
Warp Siphon grants a Warp Charge each time you kill an enemy with your Brain Burst ability. Each Warp Charge grants you an extra 3% damage buff and lasts for 25 seconds (stacking up to 4 times). This extra 12% total damage buff may not seem too significant, but it really starts to shine when combined with feats that add/change the effects of Warp Charges (covered later in this guide).
Best Weapons for Psyker
The Psyker has access to some of the most unique weapons in Darktide. They come in two types: Staves and Force Swords.
Force Swords (Not Recommended)
Force swords are similar to chainswords, in that they have a special attack which needs a moment to charge before releasing a devastating blow. However, force swords use Warp Peril just like your brain burst abilities, so make sure you don’t blow yourself up if you find yourself in a tight spot.
Despite their “cool factor”, I would recommend against using force weapons. unless they receive a significant damage increase or some other buff from an update. Currently, most of them are weaker than ordinary weapons, unless you are using their “force” ability. However, since their ability takes a moment to rev up and only affects a single target, simply using Brain Burst will do more damage while accumulating only slightly more peril.
Staves are weapons that can have a myriad of unique effects and projectiles. Though they all have one thing in common: they do not use ammunition.
Since your ability to use them scales entirely off peril, this means that there’s one less person on your team scrabbling over ammo, which can be a huge asset. Especially if your squad consists of chaingun wielding Ogryn, flamer wielding Zealots, or any of the more ammunition hungry class and weapon combinations.
Each type of staff has it’s strengths and weaknesses. The Purgatus and Surge Force staves are excellent for crowd control, but lack any ability to deal with multiple ranged enemies effectively. On the other hand, the Voidstrike and Trauma Force staff can quickly deal with small groups of ranged enemies, but if a horde gets too close, you’re going to be in big trouble.
However, the best primary weapon for the Psyker (in a majority of situations) is the Surge Force staff. The Surge Force allows you to balance a good mixture of crowd control and mid-range damage. It may not always be the best at clearing hordes, but you can at least stun them and keep them in place. That way, the rest of your squad can come in and mop up what’s left. Plus, you get to shoot lightning out of your hands! Who doesn’t want that?
Best Build for Psyker
For the best late game build for the Psyker, we’re going to use this Surge Force staff.
The ‘Terrifying Barrage‘ blessing is pretty essential for this weapon. If you’re facing down a horde, this blessing ensures that killing one or two will stun the rest. This will allow you to continue smiting the rest of them uninterrupted.
Best Feats for Psyker
Your selection of feats for the Psyker is a bit more flexible than other classes. We’ll be showcasing what we think are the best feats for the Psyker in Warhammer 40K: Darktide.
Warp Absorption and Inner Tranquility can be switched out for any other option and still be viable. We just prefer to use these since they both augment your Brain Burst ability, and you’ll be using that constantly regardless of what build you run. The four latter feats are the real meat and potatoes of this build (really any build for the Psyker in Darktide).
Cerebral Lacerations cause an enemy that is hit with Brain Burst to take 25% more damage from all non-Warp (meaning non-magical) sources for the next 5 seconds. This is only worth taking on missions that are difficulty level 3 or higher, since most enemies won’t survive the initial Brain Burst at lower levels.
Kinetic Shield reduces the amount of ranged damage taken by 10-33%, depending on your level of peril. This helps even out some of the more glaring weaknesses that this build has, particularly it’s weakness against groups of ranged enemies.
Kinetic Flayer is the real star of this build. It causes all attacks from the Psyker to have a 10% chance to instantly Brain Burst any enemy every 15 seconds, as long as you are under critical peril. Since your Lightning Smite can hit as many as 10 enemies in a single burst, this gives you a pretty high chance to insta-kill at least one enemy per engagement.
And last but not least, we have Quicken, which activates when you use your active ability (Psykinetic Wrath). For every Warp Charge you’ve accumulated, it reduces the cooldown of your active ability by 12.5%, for a total of up to 50%. This means as long as you keep cycling through your abilities and Brain Bursting specialists, you should be able to pretty regularly use your active ability. Not only does this keep enemies from getting too close, but it also quells a significant amount of peril, letting you keep your combo going for significantly longer.
Join the High Ground!
And there we have it, one of the best Psyker builds ready to be tested against Nurgle’s hordes Warhammer 40K: Darktide! Keep in mind that with any Psyker build, your health pool is still going to be much smaller than any other classes, so make sure to keep your squad close, watch your six, and get ready to pop some heretics! Meanwhile, check out our guide to the Zealot!
If you have any questions or think there’s another build we should take a look at, leave a comment below! And make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more content!